Endocrine-disrupting effects of compounds in Danish streams

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Effluents from municipal wastewater-treatment plants and scattered dwellings, as well as runoff from agricultural fields, are sources of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the aquatic environment. The present study investigated the correlation between the occurrence of EDCs in nine Danish streams using passive samplers (polar organic integrative samplers and silicone membranes) and determined their possible biological effects as assessed by mammal cell cultures and the mussel (Unio tumidus). The passive samplers and mussels were exposed simultaneously at the study sites. The extracts from the passive samplers were used to measure the concentrations of EDCs and the biological effects on the estrogen (ER), androgen (AR), and aryl hydrocarbon (AhR)-receptor transactivation. Male mussels were investigated for biomarkers of endocrine effects, such as the levels of vitellogenin-like proteins measured as alkali-labile phosphate (ALP). EDC concentrations, hormone-receptor transactivation (ER, AR, AhR), and level of ALP were greater downstream of wastewater-treatment plants compared with upstream sites and sites supposed to be relatively nonimpacted by wastewater. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between in vitro AhR transactivation and frequency of ALP of male mussels. We conclude that wastewater effluent is an important source of endocrine-disrupting effects in the aquatic environment and that the combination of biological effect measurements and chemical analyses based on passive sampling is useful in the assessment of the ecological state of the aquatic environment.

TidsskriftArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Sider (fra-til)1-18
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2014

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